Email marketing for non-fiction authors

As an author, connecting with your audience is vital to getting your work noticed. It will literally take you from someone with a good book that nobody heard about, to somebody who’s book sells like hot cakes.

However, there is a difference in which fiction authors and nonfiction authors approach their audience. The first one writes to tell a great story, to entertain their audience, give them an experience and to dream away while curled up on the sofa. A non-fiction author, on the other hand, is all about teaching people and helping them achieve their goals.

If you’re a nonfiction author people still want to know you but they are more interested in knowing if you have the experience to back up the book. They want to know why they should listen to you (or rather, read your book). They want to know if you can really teach them something. So your email sequence is the place where you can give them background information, teach them things that will help them get started even before the book is out. It’s all about teaching. Don’t be afraid that you’ll use up all ‘the good stuff’. Because the more you will share with your audience at this stage, the more trust you build with them.

Sequence blueprint

To help make things a little easier on you, we’ve created a sequence blueprint that you can use when your launch date is around the corner. With these guidelines, you should be able to whip out a great launch sequence that will enable you to help a lot of people (and sell a lot of books in the process).

In all of these emails, the goal is to focus on helping your audience achieve their goals. Figure out what kind of content related to your book can help them even more. And make sure that your book is aligned to your audience - it will make it a lot easier to write your launch sequence.

A great example is a book about productivity. For this, you can create a planner worksheet, write about time tracking, or create effective to-do lists. The goal is to help increase the productivity of your readers, even before they buy your book.

And with that in mind, let’s dive right into it, shall we.  

Day 0 - Welcome

Before anything else, start with welcoming people to your sequence/list. They are the super awesome people you started your business for in the first place. So welcome them to your list. This is an excellent time to give them a freebie, or anything that will help them reach their goals. Remember, this is all about them! Yes, we all have goals to grow our own businesses, but the more customer focused you are, the better. Make them feel you’re here for them, to help them. Not to make money – this will go so much further than pushing your product - trust me.

Day 1 - Educational

What is the number one thing your readers/customers are struggling with (and that ties in with your upcoming launch)? What do they need right now to make their lives or businesses better? This is the perfect moment to teach them all about it. Focus on giving all value, teach everything you know, and be sure to speak their language – no promoting your books or services here.

Bonus tip: give them a nice actionable tip that they can implement right away, something that won’t take too much time and will make a huge impact in their business/lives.

Day 3 - Educational

There is no such thing as giving too much value. So today is a great day to continue deepening the information you gave yesterday. Give them another actionable tip that will make their lives easier, help them make an impact and save time. Again, focus on giving value, the more the better. But keep in mind to keep it short and to the point. Don’t impose on your subscriber’s time, it’s valuable to them and they are busy people.

Day 4 - Product information

This is where you share what your book is about, when it’s launching and what they will learn. But more importantly, you will want to focus on the benefits of your book and the transformation your customer will go through. What will your book help them do? What will they get out of it and why do they need this RIGHT NOW. Yes, you’ll want to give them information about the actual product too, but mostly you’ll want to state how it will help and benefit them. Because at the end of the day your customers will buy an outcome they want – the product is just a means to an end.

This is also a great place to introduce a special promotion just for the launch.

Day 5 - Launch

It’s finally here: Launch day! You’ve worked so hard for this, your customers are anticipating this and now it’s finally here. Make this email a party in their inbox. You’ve put a lot of time and energy into this and it will help your customers do great things. Take a moment to celebrate that here: you wrote a book!

Also, repeat the benefits. Let them know what it is you’re selling and how it will help them transform their lives. Again, keep this super customer focused. And don’t forget to remind them of the special launch deal you have and when it goes away.

Day 7 - Educational

Now that your book is out, the work isn’t done. There is still a lot more you can teach your audience. Don’t be afraid to teach them topics that you’ve already covered in your book. No, this won’t hurt your sales. In fact, it will do the exact opposite. The more you will teach your audience, the more they will trust that you’re an expert and the more likely they are to buy your book. So teach everything you know.

Day 9 - Educational

And keep on teaching everything you know. Deepen out a topic you briefly touched on already, or cover a new topic. This can also be a FAQ around the topic of your book or little mini tip your readers can implement and try out today. Whatever you do, make sure your readers walk away with a great take away (preferably one that will change their lives).

Day 11 - Product information

You know that awesome promotion you’ve introduced on launch day? You want to let your readers know this is going away soon and that it’s time to act now. (Set up automation to take people who already bought out of this sequence so they won’t receive these emails). Remind them of what your book is, what it does and who it helps. Next, let them know how much time they have left to buy your book with this special promotion.

Day 12 - Educational

And lastly, teach again. Leave them with a great take away to really show your customers how you can help them. Not by telling them they need to buy right now, but by teaching them. Because that is the best way to really help your audience.

Note: this is a basic launch sequence blueprint and by no means complete. You can use it as a guideline to fit your book and needs. For instance, you might want to add a webinar to your sales funnel, so you can add emails around those either before or after your launch (or both!). But using this sequence as a guideline will be a great starting point.

Programs to use

To write your books all you need is pen and paper, right? (Or a laptop in this digital age), but these programs will help you to create that book you’ve been meaning to write with less stress!

(Note: these programs don’t integrate with ConvertKit, but are a great addition to your writer’s toolbox)

  • Scrivener– The number one tool used for writers, it’s great to keep you organised. It helps you streamline your research, create and move around chapters, and effortlessly create an outline for your book. (Paid)
  • Evernote– This program is created to keep track of your notes on all your devices. The great thing about Evernote is that you can keep working anywhere – because you have everything you need on hand. When creating a book, you can easily create a ‘stack’ of several ‘notebooks’, kind of like creating folders. This makes it super easy to find everything again. (This comes as a free and a paid version)
  • MS Word or Google Docs – Of course, if you prefer to work in one document straight onto your desktop, a simple writing program works perfectly too! With all the new options out it's super easy to create a hyperlinked index and make it easier to move through your document. (This comes as a free and a paid option)

Integrations

When you’re working hard to let people know about your book, you want the different platforms to work seamlessly together. We get that. So here is our top pick of platforms you can connect with ConvertKit to make sure your book sales go (almost) fully automatically.

If you’re selling your own books and PDFs, it’s great to have a platform that works with ConvertKit in making this happen (and makes it easy to deliver the product. Here are our top picks if you want to build your own web shop.

Grabbing the attention and really show what your book is about is made easy with these tools. They help you capture subscribers and really sell your books (which is what you want).

  • BookLaunch- Specially designed with writers in mind. It gives just the right amount of information to get people hooked. The great thing is that it links up with several booksellers too. So you can connect your book to your own webshop, but also to the Kindle store, Barnes & Nobles and much more! This is how it works with ConvertKit.
  • Leadpages– Though this is more generic and not as specifically aimed at writers, Leadpages is still a great tool to help sell your eBooks. They have a lot of different templates to choose from to build a landing page that resonates with your audience. (Note: Leadpages only integrates with ConvertKit when you use the drag & drop builder). This is how it works with ConvertKit.

Just ask

If you’re writing a nonfiction book, you’re not writing to entertain. You’re writing to teach (teach everything you know!), but how do you know what people want to learn? You ask them! If you have a social media presence or a blog, or through your email list, this is a great way to ask people what they need. Using Gravity Forms will make this quick and easy. Plus there is a seamless integration with ConvertKit. So everyone who takes the time to answer your questions will be part of the creation process!

Other integrations that work for you:

  • WordPress – To keep connecting with the people that land on your website or blog and to stay in touch with them. Most of the time your website is the first impression they will have of you, and with our WordPress integrations, it’s easy to capture those people and stay in touch. This is how it works with ConvertKit.
  • Zapier– Is there a program you want to use with ConvertKit, but we don’t currently support it? Zapier is the perfect solution that will save you a lot of time (which you can put back into writing again!) This is how it works with ConvertKit.

Rules & automations

Making ConvertKit work for you will save you a lot of time - time that you can use to write and connect with your audience, here are a few automation rules you can use to get started.


Trigger Action
Someone subscribes to your newsletter Subscribe to a welcome sequenceTag ‘welcome’ and ‘interested in my work’
Someone finished the welcome sequence Unsubscribe from the welcome sequenceSubscribes to the second sequence (if having any!)Remove ‘welcome’ tag
Someone opts-in to get a free chapter or checklist Subscribe to free chapter sequenceAdd tag ‘interested in [book title]’ and ‘free sample [book title]’
Clicks on a link to read you blog post Add a tag that is appropriate per topic so you can see who’s interested in what (bonus: that gives you great insight in your customers too )
Clicks on a the sales page link Add tag ‘interested in buying [book title]’
Buys your book Remove tag ‘interested in [book title]’, ‘interested in buying [book title]’ and ‘free sample [book title]’Add tag ‘bought [book title]
Finishes the launch sequence Unsubscribe from the launch sequence

Bonus: Want to know where your audience hangs out, create a [ref campaign] for each social media platform. When people click on the link to your landing page it’s easy to see where your people come from and makes it easier to double down your efforts on a specific platform to really connect with them.

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